Live running for East Midlands PSN just the start for local users
Public services network already delivering cost savings for Lincolnshire county council
Early public services network (PSN) users in the East Midlands are encouraging like-minded local public sector organisations to sign up to use the network and drive greater shared benefits for all.
The East Midlands Public Services Network (emPSN) recently went live for schools that previously used the existing East Midlands Broadband Consortium (embc) network.
The KCom-supplied network now has over 1,000 schools from across the region and over 400 Lincolnshire County Council sites connected and, in geographical terms, is the largest regional PSN to be procured in England.
The shared infrastructure allows regional public sector organisations to collaborate, save costs, improve service delivery to residents and bring the public sector closer to their customers using mobility and flexible working. The emPSN contract has been designed to become a local marketplace for a wide range of the public sector's communications and service needs.
Mike Kendall, managing director of emPSN, which procured the network and is managing the suppliers, said: "The contract with Kcom was signed in March and since then there has been considerable work to make sure that the schools were moved to the emPSN by the time the embc contract expired. I'm pleased to say that we met the deadline and there was a smooth network hand over."
"We're hoping that all regional public sector organisations will join emPSN in the near future. We made the decision to procure a PSN because of the benefits that can be achieved through sharing - in terms of both cost savings and service level improvements. The emPSN will facilitate the ability to share assets, particularly buildings, as well as share applications to enhance our public services. The key here is collaboration."
Judith Hetherington Smith, chief information officer of Lincolnshire County Council told Government Computing she is also keen to see the network develop because the council will see 50% cost savings out of going to PSN.
"The transition to live operation is important but it is only the start. We've now got a great opportunity to encourage other public sector organisations, across the whole region, to transition their services to emPSN. That includes local authorities, health trusts, emergency services and charitable organisations, particularly those that support the delivery of public services, particularly in Lincolnshire, which suffers because of the rural nature of the county.
"The network already has fantastic reach and has delivered significant cost savings in Lincolnshire. In rural areas a regional network has particular importance and it really is a case of the more organisations that come on board, the greater its value will be for all of us. The value will come through cheaper technology costs and, perhaps more importantly, through enabling shared working across public sector partners."
Afshin Attari, director of PSN at Kcom, said: "This is the biggest and most complex PSN contract we've delivered to date. There has been significant work carried out, both by us and our partners, in a short amount of time and I'm pleased that there has been such a substantial take up from the schools and local authorities involved so far. We will be playing our part to increase the number of organisations so they can benefit from all that emPSN can offer."